By Alexa Erickson:Collective Evolution
The 2016 U.S. presidential election has proven worrisome. Corruption lurks around every corner, and while there are far too many people in power willing to protect it, there are enough hackers and researchers willing to uncover it.
Bernie Sanders knew DNC staff members were plotting against him, but it took a lot more than giving people his word to truly expose the truth. When the “Hillary Leaks” came to be, major news outlets jumped all over the fact that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other officials were involved in an email that sought to question Bernie Sanders’ religion as a means to tear away his voters.
But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was careful to point out that people were truly missing some valuable information in the emails. This provoked the good people at Marijuana.com to sift through the WikiLeaks dump of the DNC emails, discovering a paid segment by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) that created fear within Washington and encouraged politicians to be wary of marijuana legalization.
In the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a daily Politico newsletter for Capitol Hill insiders, the WSWA’s advertisement reads:
While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.
23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana while Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. have legalized possession and recreational use. In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana.
Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.
Tom Angell of Marijuana.com, who is responsible for finding the specific email, says that while the email itself isn’t nearly as secretive and deceptive as the internal DNC messages, it does show the growing concern over marijuana competing with the alcohol industry, with more states continuing to pass reform laws in retaliation.
Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project opened up on the subject, saying that the alcohol industry ought to pay closer attention to drunk driving as opposed to pot legalization.
“Given that driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal and that the existing research shows marijuana’s effect on driving ability is significantly less than alcohol, it is difficult to see a legitimate reason for the alcohol industry to be taking up this issue,” Fox said. “They would do better to fund research on how to decrease drunk driving.”
In May, AAA’s safety foundation released a report that proved blood testing drivers for THC should be abandoned, as it holds no scientific validity, but a second part of the report discovered that car crashes involving drivers who had consumed cannabis were increasing.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of 592 drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 38 tested positive for cannabis, and 2014 showed 619 deadly crashes, with the number testing positive for cannabis rising to 75. But Staci Hoff, Research Director for WTSC, explained:
[I]n our study, we looked at all five years of date, 2010 to 2014, and there were never 3,000 drivers involved in these fatal crashes during that time period. Only 56 of them had THC and only THC, nothing else.
Law enforcement, mainstream media, and the alcohol lobby have taken advantage of this skewed statistic to instill fear in people about legalizing weed. This has resulted in both politicians and the public demanding that we have something that can measure “how high” someone is while driving.
While the alcohol industry doesn’t make money by trying to decrease instances of drunk driving, by keeping their direct competition, marijuana, illegal, they inadvertently will, and this email is evidence that this is their motive.